ISWAP militants raided Boko Haram camp, as they exchange bullets many were left dead – Thank God
photo 11 year old iswap kills christian hostage
Under Al-Barnawi, ISWAP split from the faction led by longtime Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau in mid-2016
Intense gunfire between two rival jihadist groups in northeast Nigeria has left several fighters dead, two sources with close knowledge of the incident told AFP on Monday.
Fighters in pickup trucks from a Boko Haram faction loyal to Abubakar Shekau stormed a camp belonging to rival IS-aligned Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), resulting in a fierce gunbattle that caused several fatalities, the sources said.
The Boko Haram jihadists attacked the camp in Sunnawa village in Abadam district near the border with Niger to reclaim their women seized by ISWAP fighters in an earlier raid on their camp across the border in Niger.
Details of the clashes which happened on Wednesday were slow to emerge due to limited telecom services in the remote region.
“It was a deadly fight that left several fighters on both sides dead,” said the first source, while the other source said both sides suffered substantial losses as “the fighting was intense.”
ISWAP militants had earlier raided a Boko Haram camp in the Diffa region of neighbouring Niger where they kidnapped 13 women.
Boko Haram traced the women to Sunnawa in Lake Chad area which is under ISWAP control and decided to “extricate” them, said the second source.
“The operation didn’t succeed, the women are still in the hands of their captors,” he said.
ISWAP broke away from Boko Haram in 2016 with IS-support in part due to its rejection of indiscriminate attacks on civilians.
The group has focused attacking soldiers and military installations although it has increasingly been targeting civilians since its takeover in 2018 by more hardline fighters who deposed its leader and executed his deputy.
Since the split the two factions have been locked in deadly skirmishes which saw ISWAP winning over Boko Haram fighters and territories controlled by Shekau.
“They have been killing each other, with each side declaring the other infidels”, said the first source.
Since the split the two factions have been locked in deadly skirmishes which saw ISWAP winning over Boko Haram fighters and territories controlled by Shekau. “They have been killing each other, with each side declaring the other infidels”, said the first source.
Shekau’s execution of many of his commanders he accused of insubordination is seen by fighters loyal to them who switched to ISWAP as unforgivable, the sources said.
In December, a jihadist delegation from Mali and Libya met the leaders of both factions in the ISWAP-controlled Lake Chad area in a failed attempt to broker peace, the sources said.
Both camps refused to make concessions and the delegation left without achieving their mission as the two factions refused to recognise each other as Muslims.
“Shekau’s flat refusal to stop indiscriminate killings and branding anyone who does not share his view as an apostate is the major wedge to truce,” said the first source, as is both groups’ rejection of power-sharing.
IS only recognises ISWAP leadership since its split from Boko Haram and once the two factions coalesced.Shekau would have to abdicate and his faction absorbed into ISWAP, said the first source.
“Shekau would rather die than give in and play second boss Fiddle
What Happened To Boko Haram ?
The leader of an Islamic State-backed faction of Boko Haram may have been replaced, sources say, against a backdrop of speculation as to his fate — and the group’s future direction.
Three sources with deep knowledge of the group said they had been told in recent days that the Islamic State West Africa Province had dropped Abu Mus’ab Al-Barnawi.
A previously unknown figure named Abu Abdullah Ibn Umar Albarnawi is said to have replaced Al-Barnawi, whose father Muhammad Yusuf founded Boko Haram in 2002.
The name Al-Barnawi or variations of it derive from Arabic words meaning “The man from Borno,” a state in northeastern Nigeria.
“If the information turns out to be true, it will have far-reaching implications and raise a lot of questions, including the fate of Al-Barnawi,” one of the sources told AFP.
“The big question is, where is Al-Barnawi? Is he alive or is he dead? Knowing how Boko Haram operates, it is unlikely for a leader to be deposed and allowed to move freely.”
Under Al-Barnawi, ISWAP split from the faction led by longtime Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau in mid-2016 in opposition to the latter’s indiscriminate targeting of civilians.
Shekau had previously pledged allegiance to ISIS chief Abubakr al-Baghdadi in 2015 but ISIS recognised only Al-Barnawi as leader.
Al-Barnawi was considered only a figurehead, with the real power being held by his second-in-command, Mamman Nur.
Nur, who was the mastermind of the 2011 bombing of the UN headquarters in Abuja which killed 26, was assassinated by more radical ISWAP commanders in August 2018.
Since then, Al-Barnawi “has been living on the fringes, careful not to cross the path of the new leadership and earn their wrath”, a second source said.
A third said any change in leadership, which has sparked online speculation among those tracking the conflict, could be considered a “formality”.
“Al-Barnawi had long lost relevance in the group,” he said.